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Tour de France: Chris Froome survives near miss as crash pushes him to front

By Matt McGeehan

Chris Froome survived a near miss at the Tour de France but race leader Tony Martin was not so fortunate as he suffered a fractured collarbone which ended his race.

Froome began the day in second place overall, 12 seconds behind Martin, who crashed 900metres from the finish of the 191.5-kilometres sixth stage from Abbeville to Le Havre, won by his Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Zdenek Stybar.

Martin's exit makes him the second leader to abandon this year's race while in the maillot jaune, after Fabian Cancellara crashed on stage three.

It also means Team Sky's Froome is the defacto leader, even if he does not wear the yellow jersey on today's stage.

Froome had a squabble with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali after the stage, with the Italian initially believing that Froome had caused the crash which also forced Nibali to the floor.

The Briton came out of his pedals and almost catapulted off his bike when Martin clipped a wheel and tumbled into a Giant-Alpecin rider and then Nibali. Nibali fell into Froome, but the 2013 winner stayed upright and safe.

Afterwards Froome boarded the bus of Nibali's Astana team to clear the air.

Froome wrote on Twitter, alongside a video of the incident: "There was some confusion as to who caused the crash, wanted to clear that up with @AstanaTeam @vincenzonibali (definitely wasn't me!)." Froome added on "I'm absolutely fine. I took a knock on my knee bone and there was a little bit of blood there, but nothing more than that.

"I had to wait on the roadside as my rear wheel was buckled and I couldn't ride on."

The 3km rule meant those involved in or held up by the crash - including Nairo Quintana (Movistar), another of the race favourites - did not lose time and the top of the general classification remained unchanged.

As well as having repercussions for Froome, Martin's injury has implications for Mark Cavendish.

Martin, a multiple world time-trial champion, is a key component of Mark Cavendish's lead-out and now the Manxman will be without him for today's 190.5km stage from Livarot to Fougeres, which is anticipated to end in a sprint.

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